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Crews overcoming district fires

EMERGENCY crews continue to monitor fires across the South West, with strengthening of containment lines an ongoing process.

At time of going to print, crews were responding to a report of a new fire near Dergholm, however further details were unavailable.

Emergency crews were continuing to monitor eight incidents between Dergholm and Hotspur, the South Australian border and Coleraine.

Fire which started in the Nangeela State Forest more than a week ago and burning 56 hectares, is no longer the subject of warnings or alerts and emergency services continue to monitor the situation.

The Digby-Strathdownie Rd fire at Killara burned 866 hectares, before being brought to heel by containment lines installed by vigilant emergency crews.

The fire is under control and emergency services are also monitoring that area.

Further south, at Hostpur, the largest of the three blazes, known as the Crawford River-Boulevard, was contained at time of going to print.

The fire, which has burned for more than a week, has taken out almost 3000 hectares – fortunately, no major infrastructure or lives.

Lightning from a late change thunderstorm sparked several small fires in the district on Monday evening, however they were quickly brough under control by local crews.

Further south, advice was still being issued for Breakaway Creek, Condah Mission, Lake Condah and Milltown, at time of going to print, where a fire remained out of control on Millard Track, Lake Condah. 

The fire was not threatening lives or infrastructure and crews were working to strengthen containment lines.

National Parks in the area were closed on Friday, with campers asked to leave early, ahead of Monday’s predicted – and realised – significant fire weather.

Forrest Fire Management and Parks Victoria made the decision to close Budj Bim National Park, which re-opens today, pending no increase in fire risk.

“It was too dangerous for anyone to be camping in Budj Bim National Park, with fire already in the landscape and the predicted hot dry windy conditions,” Incident Controller Dale Antonysen said.

“We asked people to not travel if they did not need to; keep the roads free for emergency service to move around with ease”.

A base camp, known as Woody, has been set up at the Heywood Recreation Reserve to accommodate about 170 people working on bushfires in the district.

Base camp manager, Bruce Tabenar said the camp would also cater for 1000 meals per sitting.

He said contractors had been engaged to provide meals for approximately 300 personnel daily currently working on the Far South West fire effort

The camp is set up with generator back-up, in case of power failure in the local area.

“It is both difficult and challenging setting up a base camp, however with the help of local businesses and people the task is made much easier.

“The support provided has been tremendous.”

He said minimising disruption to the community was a high priority and lighting at the camp would be angled away from town and sound minimisation techniques would be used, in addition to night curfews.

As many local suppliers as possible are being used to help supply labour, contracting works, food and materials.

Emergency services have stressed the importance of keeping updated with fire information via several sources, including the VicEmergency app or website at www.emergency.vic.gov.au , tuning your radio into 98.1am, 77.4am or 59.4am.

Radios should always be fitted with batteries, in case of a power outage.

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